Region: Russian River Valley, CA
Cost: $20 (SRP)
Winemaker’s Notes: Soft and creamy notes of apples, pears, and spices envelope the senses, with added aromas of vanilla and toasty oak. This Chardonnay is very balanced and approachable with crisp fruit flavors, hints of butter, and oak. This fruit-forward Chardonnay is wonderful when enjoyed with hard cheeses, beet salad, or a summer risotto.
My Review: This is twice in about the last 12 months that I’ve found an oaked Chardonnay that I thought was just fantastic. I know the use of oak on Chardonnay is a touchy subject, with most people (rightfully) seeing it as a crutch to mask inferior wine or just being overused by winemakers.
Fortunately, that was not the case here.
In the glass the 2018 Ron Rubin Chardonnay was lighter than I thought it was going to be. A light golden color, it was obvious that the wine was had spent time in oak barrels, but it wasn’t so dark that I thought it had applied for residence.
On the nose I got aromas of green apple, lime, and gooseberry. It was light, crisp, and refreshing, without any of the buttery, oaky nose I expect from a wine that’s been overly oaked.
On the palate the wine was crisp and refreshing I got flavors of lemon and lime and first sip, with just a touch of creaminess in the mid-palate that gave way to a surprisingly crisp finish with just a touch of acid.
As the wine warmed up more of the creamy, butter and oak notes shined through on the finish, but they never buried or overwhelmed the crisp citrus notes, ensuring a good balance that provided roundness and crispness in harmony.
I sipped on this with a charcuterie that my wife and I put together, but I think some herb chicken or a creamy risotto would be a great pairing for it; the acid and creaminess would let you play with where you wanted to compliment or contrast flavors.
For the price I thought this wine was a steal. It easily drank like it should be priced another $5-$10 more. Once we have consistently warm weather, and the ability to gather in groups, this is a great option for summer parties where you want a white that will go with food and appeal to a wide audience.
Definitely one I’d keep an eye out for again.
PS: Shoutout to Ron Rubin winery for using a screw cap enclosure; it’s always great to see.
Editor’s Note: I received this wine as a free sample for review.